ATK (NYSE: ATK) was awarded a $20 million contract by Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) to provide its UltraFlex(tm) solar arrays to power Orbital's enhanced Cygnus(tm) cargo logistics space vehicle, which is being utilized under NASA's Commercial Resupply System contract.
The disk-shaped UltraFlex solar arrays measure more than 11 feet in diameter and are made of ultra-lightweight materials that provide high strength and stiffness as well as compact stowage volume. With the same power but at a significantly reduced mass from the original arrays, the UltraFlex solar arrays will contribute to an overall increased payload capability of the enhanced Cygnus vehicle to provide resupply services to the International Space Station. "Providing performance and weight savings is critical for spacecraft providers," said David Shanahan, vice president and general manager, ATK Space Structures & Components. "UltraFlex solar arrays provide the highest power for the lowest mass, enabling larger payloads and ensuring the success of more taxing missions."
Smaller 6-foot diameter versions of these disk-shaped solar arrays were used to power NASA's Phoenix Lander, which had its mission extended three times due in part to the exceptional performance of the solar arrays. Larger UltraFlex solar arrays-measuring nearly 20 feet in diameter-will be deployed on NASA's Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle.
The enhanced Cygnus spacecraft incorporates a larger pressurized cargo module that can carry up to 2700 kg of cargo to the ISS. The spacecraft's pressurized cargo module will carry crew supplies, spares and scientific experiments.
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